Alberta’s oil & gas sector generated -$212M in corporate tax revenue last year

Yep. You read that right. Negative $212 million.

At the end of last month, the Government of Alberta published information on corporate tax revenue for 2020–2021, and there’s not much good news in there.

Alberta brought in about $2.563 billion in corporate tax revenue during the last fiscal year, which is down nearly $1.6 billion from the $4.153 billion they brought in during 2019–2020.

The $2.563 billion the provincial government took in last year in corporate tax revenue is the lowest amount they’ve seen since 2004–2005, when they collected $2.554 billion.

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It shouldn’t be that surprising that Alberta lost corporate income tax revenue last year, given that the entire fiscal year was within the pandemic. Plus, the fiscal year began just as oil prices were coming out of their lowest price in years.

The data the province provided breaks down corporate income tax revenue by economic sector. Here are the 10 industries that generated the most corporate income tax revenue, in order from most to least:

SectorCIT revenue
Finance & insurance$575,785,900
Wholesale trade$250,974,139
Transportation, warehousing & storage$242,526,812
Professional, scientific & technical services$223,937,324
Real estate and rental & leasing$196,766,416
Retail trade$173,412,969
Health care & social assistance$143,666,802
Management of companies & enterprises$119,808,850

These 10 sectors combined accounted for roughly 95% of all corporate income tax revenue generated between April 2020 and March 2021. The finance and insurance sector alone made up just under 23% of the total corporate income tax of that year.

Notice who’s missing from the list? Where does Alberta’s crown prince—oil and gas—sit in the list?

Well, they’re most definitely not in the top 10. In fact, they came in dead last. They generated -$212 million in corporate income tax revenue last year.

No, that wasn’t an error. You read that right. That’s negative $212 million.

The sector this province continues to hang their hat on didn’t even generate a single penny (or, I guess it’d be a nickel now) last year in corporate income tax revenue.

Oil and gas extraction was the only economic sector to post negative corporate income tax revenue last year.

Here’s what the top 10 sector was for 2019–2020, when there was no pandemic.

Finance & insurance$699,658,945
Oil & gas extraction$551,561,470
Transportation, warehousing & storage$525,571,957
Wholesale trade$290,755,418
Professional, scientific & technical services$264,803,157
Real estate and rental & leasing$252,947,377
Retail trade$180,278,849
Management of companies & enterprises$173,031,544

Finance and insurance was still number 1, but oil and gas extraction was back in the top 10. Missing from the list is “health care & social assistance”, which was in 11th place.

These 10 sectors was responsible for about 85% the corporate income tax revenue generated in Alberta during the 2019–2020 budget year.

Here’s the difference between corporate income tax revenue generated from the 2019–2020 top 10 during that year and last year.

Oil & gas extraction-$763,870,779
Transportation, warehousing & storage-$283,045,145
Finance & insurance-$123,873,045
Real estate and rental & leasing-$56,180,961
Management of companies & enterprises-$53,222,694
Professional, scientific & technical services-$40,865,833
Wholesale trade-$39,781,279
Retail trade-$6,865,880
Difference in corporate income tax generated in 2019–2020 and 2020–2021

It shouldn’t be that surprising that oil and gas extraction saw the largest drop, given that they had a net contribution last year of -$212 million, as I mentioned above. As you can see, all top 10 sectors saw a drop in corporate income tax revenue generated last year.

Actually, there were only 2 sectors that generated more corporate income tax revenue last year than they had the year before. Educational services generated $2.163 million more last year than they did the year before, and the utilities sector generated $1.826 million more.

Finally, here are the top 10 sectors when you add up all corporate income tax revenue generated over the last 5 years.

SectorCIT revenue
Manufacturing$2.973 billion
Transportation, warehousing & storage$1.855 billion
Construction$1.779 billion
Wholesale trade$1.596 billion
Real estate and rental & leasing$1.527 billion
Retail trade$1.421 billion
Professional, scientific & technical services$1.381 billion
Oil & gas extraction$1.344 billion
Management of companies & enterprises$1.110 billion
Health care & social assistance$0.891 billion
Corporate income tax revenue generated between 2015–2016 and 2020–2021

Oil and gas dropped to just 8th place. Even if we use the totals for the 4 years prior to the pandemic, oil and gas comes in 6th place. The sector accounted for only 12.31% of all corporate income tax revenue generated between 2015–2016 and 2019–2020 and 9.98% of that generated between 2015–2016 and 2020–2021.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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